Interviews

After losing my dad, I don’t come back home as much: Priyanka Chopra

October 03, 2013 10:47 PM


Indian star in a conversation with Times of India about her life post her dad, working with the Roshans and her new music career. Here are excerpts 

How has life changed for you after your father? 

I don’t come back home as much. I don’t talk about it. I don’t feel that I am strong enough to deal with it yet. I went back to work four days after he died as work was my only solace. Maybe, I am an escapist of sorts. I don’t know if something like this can heal. This is the first time I had to deal with the death of someone so close to me, and I didn’t know it is so permanent. I have moved in with my mom. I was always very close to my mom and was her laadli too, but mom and me have become a lot more friends now. I understand what she is going through and she understands what I am going through and we are there to comfort each other. The only difference being that while she likes to talk about him, I like not to. 

Did your father want you to get married by a certain age? 

No, he did not give me an age. But two years back, he gave me this big solitaire and told me, ‘I am giving this to you because I don’t know how long I will be around to take care of you, but I am setting a standard for whoever you marry. He should be able to look after you the way I look after you.’ He spoilt me silly. I had to just say something and he would get it for me. At the time when he was in the army and I was a child, Barbies were super expensive. He made a deal with me that if I got an ‘A’ he would buy me a Barbie. I was smart so I used to only get As and won myself 45 Barbies in a year. Can you imagine what that means on an army man’s salary? But he had promised me and he kept his word. I earned my own money, but I liked it when my dad spoilt me. 

Hrithik was gracious in giving you credit for your inputs on the current trailer of Krrish 3, which he believes made it work even better. Let’s talk about your relationship with him? 

He is lovely when it comes to me. We have done three really long films together. Krrish took two years, Agneepath took a year-and-a-half and now Krrish 3 has taken three years. I have consistently worked with him for almost all my career. We have a great track record together, but we also share a relationship where creatively as an actor, I can say anything to him as I consider myself a creative person. I can’t keep my mouth closed when I have an opinion. What I like about him is that he has an incredible strength about him, lives a lot in his head and plans a lot. He has the ability to get through anything and has taught me in my tough times how to find the balance in my head. I was not a trained actor and would just come and say my lines without giving it much thought. He taught me how to focus and how you have to think about the graph of the character before you perform. We can just say anything to each other and he is one of the few friends I have had in the industry throughout. 

How was your experience of working with the father-son jodi of Rakesh and Hrithik Roshan? 

I was two years old in the industry when I did Krrish. While Hrithik and I are friends, I was hugely intimidated by papa Roshan. Hrithik and him are poles apart. It’s fascinating to see how even though one speaks Spanish and the other French, they understand each other so well and are like yin and yang. Rakesh sir has an incredible understanding of the story, the characters and the soul of the film. Hrithik brings in the style and the modernity. When they talk to each other you feel they are fighting, but actually you realise they are speaking with love. Together they are brilliant. No matter how early you think you have come on the set, Rakesh sir is always there before you waiting, fresh as a daisy as he wakes up at five in the morning. He knows exactly what he wants, is hyper on set, but commands respect. Rakesh sir has a temper and can be scary, but he is like a child in his head. He is a soda pop bottle. He will get angry and get okay in five minutes. He knows everyone gets intimidated by him so he will yell at you playing a joke and then he will start laughing so you don’t know whether he is joking or he is serious. He loves pulling people’s legs and has a straight-faced humour that is scary. During the shooting, both Hrithik and him were on a crazy diet, Hrithik for his role and papa Roshan for his health that made him lose some ridiculous amount of weight. At the time of Krrish, Rakesh sir and I used to love to eat and he loved feeding me, but this time I lost my partner in crime. Rakesh sir’s films have been loved by several generations and even today, the youngest person wants to see Krrish 3. 

What role does music play in your life today? 

I had no mentor. It took me five years to find myself as an actor and now I try and do different films. Just like that, music is another career and an extension of my creativity. I have trained in Western Classical and wanted to give it a shot. I could write a script or a book tomorrow. 

You are a big star in India. How different is it in LA? 

As a musician, I am still a debutante and know that I cannot be Bono in my first song. But Indians there are nuts and they are amazing. I once had to go to launch my single in a small store in West Hollywood, LA. They called me to say that people were camping outside. By the time I reached, there were thousands all around the block and they started breaking the glass of the store. Also, the crowds blocked the traffic. Due to the large crowd, the sheriff himself came there and I told him, ‘This is the way we Indians are and that is how we show our love.’ But the sheriff shut down the event. He got scared and went red in his face and was heard saying, ‘Who is the chick due to which I had to shut down West Hollywood LA?’ It was so cool when my organisers for the first time got me crystal ‘in ears’ customised to my ear with my name on it, I wanted to cry. 

Do your looks help your music career? 

Let me just tell you LA is very good for my ego. I am Indian and exotic looking and not the typical gori chitti blondie. I am well-spoken and people find me charming, though very few people deserve my attention. I am very elitist like that and don’t like giving attention to everyone. I like giving attention only to special people. The most attractive thing to me in a guy is his intelligence, as I consider myself intelligent if I may say so. I am well-read and take interest in things beyond my bubble. The two men I found amazing were Bono and Bruce Springsteen. Bono asked me if there was rock in India. I consider myself a good brand ambassador and immediately sent him Rockstar, Rock On and Dostana as he wanted one of my films too. 

Are you planning to buy a house in LA given that you spend so much time there? 

I love hotels. I am trying not to buy a house. Room service and housekeeping give me comfort. They are few of my favourite things in the world. I love fluffed up pillows and fluffed up beds with a little chocolate on the bed. I love looking at the menu and calling for anything I want. I love the fact that I leave the room in a mess, but when I come back it will be neat and tidy. I love the dim light in the evening with a note on the bed saying have a good night’s sleep. I love my breakfast in the bed and warm towels. I have decided that whenever I make my new house, I will make it like a hotel that will have hot towels in my bathroom everyday.

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